I Have a Web Site – I Have No Traffic. WTF?

What’s that I hear?

It’s true. There are millions of folks out there with websites that do nothing – nothing, I say – to actually bring them business. If you build it, that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically come.

A large majority of my freelance SEO copywriting business comes from web designers whose client sites need “copy makeovers.” In the modern age of Google and Yahoo! determining who gets what in search engine rankings, it’s up to SEO copywriters like myself to help clients get seen. I mean, hell – you just spent all this money on a website. Shouldn’t it work?

If you’re the gal who buys a blouse that hangs unworn in your closet for 3 years prior to the ceremonious fling into the “donate to charity” bin or the 42 year-old guy who buys a screwdriver on sale at Wal-Mart (even though you already have SEVEN), close my blog now. Go shopping.

However, if you’re a business owner or marketing manager that’s tasked with (ahem) accountability for your company’s website performance, let’s talk for a minute about what the redhead calls:

s*it that confuses search engines

(aka why you have a website but no traffic, considering the money
you’ve already spent)

  1. Your site is built in FLASH. Oy. You know, flash is coolio and totally spruces-up the common web presence. HOWEVER, web crawlers don’t read Flash. Web crawlers read TEXT. Not only that, but you’re paying for a website to WORK for you, not KEEP you from getting more work. If you’re already so bloody prolific in your chosen field of specialty that you don’t need to be indexed by the search engines, by all means – go with a site built 100% in Flash. If you’re like most of us (who are collectively pissed that gas is $4.50 a gallon) who are looking for a smiley face in the bottom right hand corner of the balance sheet each month – go with a content-rich, text-based site.
  2. Your site has no page titles, page descriptions or keywords. This is a common problem I find with over 90% of my new clients. See, web designers are web designers. Talented bunch of folk and the best of them can blow your mind with cool code and the latest widgets for website design. They’re just not SEO copywriters (and DO A DOUBLE TAKE IF THEY SAY THEY ARE!). A good SEO copywriter will communicate with your web designer with regards to these things, and I even go so far as to suggest URLs for consideration to help my clients achieve better rankings.
  3. Your site has poorly coded URLs. Your URLs should be as targeted as the keywords and search terms that visitors use to get to your site. Consider trading in those old and tired/useless URLs (i.e.: www.mywebsite.com/home.html) for useful ones like www.mywebsite.com/name-of-crap-you-search-for-on-google.html.  Sounds crazy, but search engines really do take your URLs into consideration when determining rankings on a keyword. And if your web designer is using a Content Management System, be sure to inquire about customizable URLs.  See list item 4 for an example of a nonsensical URL as well.
  4. Your site design is unclear in purpose, hard to read and/or navigate.You just paid serious bucks (or maybe you didn’t) for someone to design your site. Maybe you used a template program. Maybe you paid nothing. Whatever your site’s origin, if you annoy people when they get to your home page with a confusing purpose, layout or a difficult to understand navigation system, they’re going to leave. If angry people leave, they usually don’t come back. Probably another reason your traffic is down. Angry people don’t tell their friends.
  5. Who’s marketing your website? If you build it, that doesn’t mean that people will automatically come. Just like this blog. I can’t assume that people will visit my blog based solely on the fact I’ve got something to say. If you work in conjunction with a reputable web design firm and/or a savvy SEO copywriter, each are generally pretty good resources (or should be) that can point you in the direction of how to best promote your site. Whether through an inbound marketing system, Google AdWords, the ever-important linkback or other methods, you’d be surprised at the advertising and promotion opportunities that are available for your company’s website.

Starbucks didn’t become successful and earn the right to rape us each time we order a $4 coffee because their founders silently thought:

“We’ve got coffee. People will want our coffee. People will pay for our coffee.”

They got out there and told the world:

HEY! We’ve got coffee! And it’s damn good coffee, too!

BUY IT! BUY IT! BUY IT!

The bastards. Wouldn’t you like to be a bastard, too?

EDN – The Redhead

1 comments
VanessaLeabella
VanessaLeabella

Amazing advice. As a young person about to build her WordPress based site the above will keep me focused.